Inspirational Keynote Speech on Entrepreneurship – Ben Casnocha at the UCLA Entrepreneurship Tradeshow
This last Thursday I was a judge for the UCLA Entrepreneurship Tradeshow and the keynote speaker for the event was one of my favorite writers Ben Casnocha author of My Start-Up Life. I’ve heard a lot of successful entrepreneurs speak before and I was expecting Ben to speak about similar things but WOW I have to say his keynote speech was one of the most inspirational talks I have ever seen and I wanted to share his talk with everyone. Here is the transcripted outline of what he said:
Ben started off by reciting the words from the “Think Different” video
My favorite quote from that video: “People who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Then Ben talked about the 2 main philosophies or life paths
1. The Textbook Approach to Life or Path of Least Resistance – Go to a good college, get good grades, get a good paying stable job, climb the corporate ladder, live happy, and have a successful predictable life.
2. The Throw out the Textbook to Life or Hard Path – This is where you take your own blank book or canvas and try to paint a picture that uniquely fits you like a glove. In this path you don’t follow the status quo and you take on opportunities that interest you and experience the journey of life.
Then Ben proceeded to make 3 main points in his talk:
What does Entrepreneurship mean? The common answer is it means starting a company but that is only one small piece of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is much more broad that starting a company, its more of a life philosophy than a business one. In short it’s being the CEO of your own life.
So what traits do entrepreneurs tend to have in common? There are 4 of them:
1. Impact – know your ideas/beliefs are going to affect others
2. Love to Screw Around – Don’t respect the status quo and you don’t strive for a 4.0 GPA (The average GPA of self made millionaires is a 2.6 GPA)
3. Optimism – Entrepreneurs tend to be relentlessly optimistic. Its good to have a bit of self-delusion that you can personally change and affect reality.
4. Persistence – The only universal “trait” of successful entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurs have a relentless commitment to self-improvement in all mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects. Ask yourself did I go to bed smarter than when I woke up?
Here are 4 things can you do to improve yourself:
1. Improve your soft assets – these are relationships, knowledge, and connections.
2. Creativity – Recognize that you are creative even if your not “artistic”. Humans are the most creative creatures on the planet and its important to recognize the interplay of the left and right brain.
3. Opportunities – The best way to find opportunities is to shut up and listen, and expose yourself to randomness.
4. Mentors – The worst thing is to go up to a potential mentor and ask, “Will you be my mentor?” It is like going up to a new acquaintance and asking “Will you be my friend?” Instead seek out potential mentors, don’t ask them to be your mentor, develop your relationship for the long term, and realize a deep connection will not happen in weeks but in years. And never be afraid to ask out a person to coffee to learn from them and pick their brain.
The most important point is ACTION. 99% of people bitch about problems and the other 1% do something about them and learn by doing is the absolute best way to learn.
Ben collected these 4 quotes to inspire him to action:
1. “We regret the things we don’t do more than the things we do”
– Mark Twain
2. “We have a strategic plan and its called doing things”
– Herb Keller
3. “Blame Nobody. Expect Nothing. Do Something.”
– Bill Parcells
4. “But I think it is very important for you to do two things: act on your temporary conviction as if it was a real conviction; and when you realize that you are wrong, correct course very quickly.”
– Andy Grove
The 3 main takeaways from Ben Casnocha’s Keynote were:
1. Think like an entrepreneur
2. Commit yourself to self-improvement
3. Start NOW